Notes: I know how the SDK manga ends, and I know there are a lot of Tokito fans out there. Sorry to disappoint, but I'm a die hard AkiraxYuya fan, and that's what this fic is. Enjoy! I do not own SDK, but if I did, I'd have a lot more fun with it. Also, this takes place somewhere after Akira rejoins the group, but before they reach the Gates where All Hell Breaks Loose. So routhly volume 13 or so.

Breathe Into Me

Akira listened to the gentle sound of the rain hitting the makeshift shelter that the group had chosen to rest in, and decided to blame the weather on his pensive mood. He wasn't about to explore the real reason behind him keeping to himself, but he couldn't help but cast around the group searching for a familiar and comforting aura. He didn't find it, which was what he had expected, but it still didn't stop his heart from sinking just a bit.

The group was taking a short, but well earned rest before they reached the Gates of Hell. Some of the wounds needed to be attended to, and despite the urgency of her own situation, Yuya had insisted that they stop long enough to see to them. While they were resting, a gentle and soaking rain began to fall, and Yuya made the comment that it was a good thing they had found a relatively dry place to take their rest, for it would be horrible if everyone came down with colds before they got closer to their goal. This prompted Kyo to make a snide comment about the group not being weak the way Yuya was, and the argument escalated until Yuya stormed off saying that she was going to find some herbs to replace the ones that she was running low on.

Bontenmaru had been highly irate on Yuya's behalf, but Kyo just glared until the two were once again involved in one if their more petty squabbles. Akira silently agreed with the oversized beast, but he would never admit that out loud. As it was, he had to exercise all his control to not get up and follow her himself.

After about an hour passed, he finally gave in and sighed as he searched once more, hoping to at least feel Yuya returning to their impromptu camp. Once again, she failed to show, and Akira climbed to his feet and stepped out into the rain. He ignored the sharp glance he received from Bon, and found himself thankful that Kyo had dozed off. To his surprise, the boastful beast didn't comment on his leaving, so he decided not to wait around until Bon came up with something witty to say.

Akira stepped out into the lessening rain shower, and cast all of his senses about the general area. It was faint, but he soon located Yuya's aura a good distance away from where they had settled.

She must have been angrier than I thought. He hesitated slightly. If Yuya wanted to be alone, he didn't want to intrude on her solitude. At the same time, he had recently noticed that he practically craved the feel of her aura, the boundless compassion and passion that seethed so close to the surface called to all of his senses. Besides, he truly enjoyed her company, as well, and so he set off into the direction that he knew would bring him to her.

He found Yuya sitting in a dry area underneath a tree, and from the state of her aura he figured it was relatively safe to approach her. The young woman had settled with her back resting comfortably against the trunk, and from the way she jumped slightly upon his approach he gathered that she had been lost in thought and unaware of his presence.

"Akira-san, hello," she said by way of greeting, and he didn't detect any hint of displeasure at his intruding upon her solitude.

"Hello, Yuya-san," he said in reply. "I see you found a place to stay out of the rain."

He wanted to kick himself as soon as the words were out of his mouth. Of all the things he could have said, he had to pick one of the stupidest, most obvious statements over everything else. Ugh.

"Mmm," Yuya agreed, sounding a bit sleepy. "You got a bit wet wandering out away from Kyo and Bon. Why don't you have a seat?"

If he had been able to, Akira would have blinked in surprise. As it was, he merely nodded in agreement and settled down next to her, keeping his thoughts to himself as he listened to the gradual passing of the storm. The two sat in companionable silence for several moments, Akira content to simply be near her, and Yuya content with her thoughts. He felt the air began to take on a warmer hint, which meant that the storm had spent itself out and the sun was starting to peek through the clouds. Beside him, Yuya suddenly let out a gasp, and he could feel her rising excitement as her aura leapt to life.

"Oh, Akira-san, look! There's a rainbow arching just over the trees, and the colors are so vibrant! Do you see it?"

Her guileless words weren't meant to hurt, and they didn't. Akira had long become used to people forgetting that he was blind, because he moved with such confidence through his environment that he gave the appearance of still having his sight. It still came as a surprise, though, that Yuya, who was usually so conscientious of everyone, would forget.

"No, Yuya-san, I don't," he said dryly.

He heard her blink in surprise, then felt her mounting horror as she realized her slip. She began to stutter apologies, her words tripping over each other in her haste to undo any damage caused by her thoughtlessness.

"It's all right, Yuya-san," Akira said, wanting to calm the panicked beating of her heart. "Besides, it's not as if I don't have a mental image of the rainbow. I do remember what they look like."

Yuya was silent for a moment before she hesitantly asked, her voice barely above a whisper, "May I ask you a question?"

Akira cocked his head to the side, intrigued by the embarrassed curiosity he could feel radiating from her aura. She was slightly uncomfortable about what she wanted to ask, too, because she kept shifting her weight around and lacing and unlacing her fingers. Still, it was Yuya, and he knew that anything she had to ask wouldn't be anywhere near as painful as one of Akari's demanding of secrets sessions.

The thought of the pink haired shaman made him wince with remembered pain before he answered, "You can ask me anything, Yuya-san, and I will try to answer."

Yuya fidgeted a bit, and Akira waited patiently for her to ask her question. When it came, he lifted an eyebrow.

"When you . . . you said . . . I mean, is there really so little in this world worth seeing?"

Akira gave Yuya's question some thought. To be honest, he wasn't surprised that she had asked. He knew she understood his reasons for blinding himself, and it was natural for her to be curious about the comment he had made so long ago. There was no way, though, that he was going to tell her of the one true thing that he longed to see in the flesh, which was her smiling face. Instead, he thought for a moment, mulling over her question and searching for an answer he could give her.

"I can tell you some of the things that I miss seeing," he finally answered when he heard her shift uneasily. "Because even though I may not be able to physically see, my other senses tell me all that I need to know. Still, there are things I occasionally long to see again, even though I have a clear picture of them in my mind.

I miss seeing the fireflies dancing over a pond filled with cattails. I can remember one night looking up into a sky that was filled with nothing but stars, and felt the wonder of seeing one fall.

When I feel the warmth of the newly risen sun on my face, I can picture the colors of the first sunrise I saw as a member of the Shiseiten. The same could be said for when the sun sets and the cool night air wafts across the land. I remember one night when the moon was full, and shone with an eerie red light. It almost looked like . . ."

"Blood had been spilled on it," Yuya finished for him, causing Akira's face to swing into her direction.

"You saw it, too?" Akira asked, feeling a strange shiver go down his back at the thought that they had both seen that strange, eerie blood red moon at the same time.

Yuya was silent, lost in her thoughts, and Akira was content to leave her to her musings. He had a feeling she was gearing up for another question, and that suspicion was soon verified.

"What do your senses tell you about the people you meet?"

"I can tell when and where an opponent was injured during a battle. I can sense impending attacks by the way the air shifts and my opponent moves. The sound that a person's kimono makes alerts to me to what class they are from, and their dialect tells me what region they call home."

"What about what they look like? Is there a way you can sense their features?"

Akira gave a wry grin in the face of Yuya's curiosity. "Now, Yuya-san, I'm not going to ask every single person that I talk with if I can touch their faces to figure out just what they look like."

He could tell she was blushing from the heat that was radiating from her body, and he hastened to add, "Besides, the only people I've spend more than five minutes with is Kyo and everyone else in our group."

Yuya mulled that over for a moment, then said, "So the only ones that you really know what they definitely look like are . . . "

"Kyo and the rest of the Shiseiten."

Yuya was silent for a moment, then said softly, "That's right, you don't know what Tora, Yukimura or I look like."

Akira decided not to comment on that statement, and instead waited for her to finish whatever thought she was working on. He was rewarded when she said in a determined voice, "Well, I personally think it's rude for people to talk to you without letting you find out what they look like. I can at least remedy that in regards to myself."

Akira felt his jaw sag a bit, and quickly snapped it back into place. Yuya reached out and gently took one of his hands and gave it a slight tug. "You need to move closer, Akira-san. I don't think you can reach me from where you're sitting."

Akira remained silent for a moment, then got to his feet so he could shift closer to the girl. He knelt down on one knee next to her side, and heard her shift so that her head was tipped back as she gazed up at his face. He reached out with his free hand and then paused as he felt his heart-rate suddenly increase.


"Are you sure, Yuya-san?" he asked, wondering just what it was that he was asking about.

"Of course I am," she responded, her voice cheerful and relaxed, and told him he was the only one who was feeling any misgivings about this particular encounter.

Since Yuya was the first person that was letting him explore her face so he could "see" her, he wasn't exactly sure where to start. He hesitated for a moment longer, then reached forward and placed his hand lightly on her cheek.

He drew in a harsh breath at the feel of her skin, and lightly stroked her cheek with his thumb, reveling in the smooth texture beneath his hand. He took in another fortifying breath, then placed his hand on her other cheek, gently cradling her face with his warriors calluses.

He simply held her face for a few moments while he breathed in her clean scent, then began to lightly stroke the contours of her face, noting the differences between them as he let his fingers walk. He gently touched her forehead before he lightly skimmed his fingers over her arched eyebrows. He felt the slight tickle of her eyelashes as she closed her eyes when he ghosted over them. He skipped over her straight nose, and grazed his thumbs over her high cheekbones, each more a slow, methodical exploration of someone who had come to mean more to him than he was willing to admit (unless under duress, as Akari already knew). He felt the shape of her face change slightly as she smiled, and he skimmed across the slight hollow under her eyes to brush gently against her ears.

It was Yuya's turn to draw in a sharp breath, and Akira detected a slight tremor run through her body. Surprised, he paused for a brief moment before he swallowed and let his fingers gently brush the shell of her ear, memorizing the shape and texture. Yuya's breathing deepened, and he could still feel the slight tremors that racked her body. He was surprised to find that this particular area was so sensitive, but she was enjoying the sensation that it seemed to evoke in her, though deep down he knew he should move on soon. So he again skimmed the shell of her ear, but instead of stopping to stroke, this time he followed the lines as they merged into her jaw, and he ran his fingers along that strong, stubborn and determined jaw line, a physical manifestation of her core of steel.

He traced the shape and lightly brushed her chin, then followed the line of her neck, once again surprised when he passed over her pulse and discovered that it was pounding as hard as his. It was only then that he noticed her breathing had become slightly harsh and was serving to slightly mask the thunder of her heart beat from his sensitive hearing. Once again he hesitated, but by this time he had come to far to go back now, and there was one area of her face that he had yet to explore.

He gently brushed the corners of her mouth with his thumb, then smoothed the digit across the seam of her lips. The smooth, slightly damp texture fascinated him, and he continued to run his thumb along her bottom lip, then up to trace her upper lip. By this time Yuya's heart was thudding hard enough that he could hear it over her rough breathing, and though something inside of him was poking his conscious and telling him he should stop, he couldn't help himself. He had wanted to touch her for so long, and now he was, and it was more than he had imagined.

He didn't know just how long they stayed like that, but things ground to a screeching halt when Yuya drew in a shuddering breath, and moistened her lips nervously with her tongue. This wouldn't have been a noticeable movement with the exception of the fact that Akira's thumb was making another pass across her lips, and thus he brushed the tip of her tongue, and the two froze. He knew the moment her eyes snapped open to stare at him, and he could read her confusing and even, oh, he barely dared to hope, a hint of desire in her aura. A thought occurred to him, one that, once it made itself known, refused to be released, and before he knew what he was doing, he was voicing something that he knew he should keep to himself before things got out of control.

"I forgot to mention one of the most important senses when it comes to 'seeing' an individual," he said softly, leaning closer to the bounty huntress. He was about to take a rather huge chance, and his heart hammered a frantic beat against his chest. Still, there was a chance that none of them would come out of the Mibu Territory alive, and he wanted . . . Oh, he wanted . . .

"What's that?" Yuya asked, her voice sounding a bit rougher than her usual softly spoken words.

"Taste," he said, his voice a mere whisper of sensation as he brushed her lips lightly with his.

To his surprise, she didn't flinch or pull away, though she did draw in a sharp breath. It sounded like her heart picked up an even more frantic pace than his own, but she still didn't move. Emboldened, knowing that he would probably never have another chance to get this close to her, knowing the danger that they were all heading into, he braced his right arm against the tree above her head and gently cupped her jaw with his free hand, once again enjoying the satiny feel of her skin.

He lightly brushed his lips against hers once, twice; butterfly soft caresses meant to entice rather than intimidate. Yuya's breath was coming in short gasps, and he took the opportunity to settle his lips more firmly against hers. He gently teased her lips with his tongue, and fought to suppress a groan when she hesitantly opened up for him. He resisted the urge to roughly deepen the kiss, and instead of thrusting his tongue in deeply to rub against hers, he lightly flicked the tip of her tongue with his before retreating.

He continued to tease her in this manner; a slight flick, a light nip, and a flick again until he was rewarded when Yuya let out a sound between a whimper and a moan and tentatively brushed her tongue against his. That was all the encouragement he needed, and Akira didn't waste any time in using his hand to tilt her head as he slanted his mouth over hers. He surged inside, a little rougher than he had intended to, pressing and rubbing against her in between exploring the inner recesses of her mouth.

Her taste, like the girl herself, was an addictive mixture of clean innocence with underlying fire and strength. Akira couldn't get enough, and continued to slant his mouth over hers again and again, driving his tongue deep and feeling a small thrill of triumph as she responded.

The two broke apart when a loud, familiar, and at that moment extremely unwelcome voice intruded on the intensity of the moment.

"Yuya-chan! Akira!"

Akira could feel Yuya's eyes boring into him as he silently cursed Bontenmaru's interfering timing. He sensed Yuya withdrawing from him as she became aware of her surroundings again, and he scrambled to fix whatever damage he had caused by giving reign to his still muddled emotions.

"Forgive me, Yuya-san," he said softly, holding her to him. "I'm afraid I took advantage of the situation and your vulnerability after Shinrei's attack, and I apologize. It won't happen again."

He gently set her away from him and stood, offering his hand in order to help her to her feet. He hadn't realized that he was holding his breath until he felt Yuya's hand close on his, and he let it out with a soft whoosh. He could feel her eyes on him as she mulled over what he had said, and he found himself wishing he could read her mind as well as he could read her aura. Yuya suddenly smiled at him.

"It's all right, Akira-san," she began, "I . . ."

She wasn't able to finish her sentence, though, as Bon finally located them with a shout and came bounding up to them. His eyes narrowed a bit as he took in Yuya's disheveled appearance and kiss-swollen lips, but once again he refrained from commenting. Instead, he decided to relate Kyo's latest decision to the youngest members of their group.

"Come on, you two," Bon said cheerfully, clapping Akira on the back so hard the blind swordsman nearly staggered beneath the weight. "Since we've lost so much light already, we're just going to camp here for tonight and get back to the task of making our way to the Mibu tomorrow."

Yuya agreed, though her voice sounded slightly strained to Akira's acute hearing. He followed the two at a more sedate pace, mulling over the past few minutes in his mind and wondering just what Yuya had been about to say before the oversized muscle beast had interrupted her. He resolved that if they got another quiet moment together again, that he would ask her about what she had been about to say. Until then, he'd continue to stay with the group and plan on how to return Kyo to his original self.